It’s a story I’ve shared with some of you before… but I’m sure many of you have missed it.  It’s about how I got into a fight with a cop and it didn’t end well.

Lesson of the day: when you are throwing the first punch and there are a LOT of police officers around, chances are good you’re going to be in a little bit of trouble.

Here’s what went down.

The cop standing across from me was probably 30 pounds or so lighter than me. I’m not going to blame it on alcohol… I was completely sober.  Sober and stupid to think it was a good idea to swing at a State Trooper.  After all, he was a little guy and I figured I could take him.

Training at Manchester Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

 

He caught me – quickly. Dropped me – hard. Landed on top of me like a ton of bricks.

But I was bigger than him and knew I could throw him.

Knew? Eh.

Perhaps “thought” is a better word.

I spent the next ten minutes taking blows… and throwing them. Flipping him… and being flipped. Pummeling each other until finally I was cuffed.

The next day, I had black and blue marks on parts of my body that I didn’t think could bruise.

Trust me. Everything can bruise.

Lucky for me… I didn’t face any charges.

That’s because I’m boys with lots of the cops who witnessed it.

Now I’m sure you’re getting all excited thinking about how you have a shining example of police bias, right?

Wrong.

This wasn’t a street fight or a case of police brutality.

This was a specialized course about police survival.

Training at Manchester Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

It was hosted at Manchester Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Manchester, Connecticut. The owner, Rob Magao, is a veteran police officer. He put on this one day Officer Survival course to teach basic techniques for the street.

There were more than 50 police officers taking part… local, state and feds. And they all have one thing in common: they want to stay alive and go home to their families.

I took the course with these men and women, learning about what to do when a suspect attacks.

Now keep this in mind – I’m not a police officer. And perhaps I’m a little extreme, but I’m personally of the mentality that when someone attacks a cop… adios. The officer should be allowed to do whatever he has to do to put down the threat. And I mean put DOWN the threat.

Training at Manchester Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

But that’s not what this course was about. It was about how to survive… and how to subdue the attacker… WITHOUT hurting them.

There was a tremendous focus on how to protect citizens, including those citizens who seek to hurt the men and women who hold the thin blue line.

We spent about 20 minutes watching videos of unexpected attacks on police officers which were caught on body and dash cams.

 

We listened as men and women in blue were caught off guard and beat viciously… desperately crying out for help that sometimes came too late.

These were husbands. Wives. Mothers. Fathers. People who will never go home to their children… because they were killed in the line of duty.

Training at Manchester Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

 

It’s a dark world out there, and I for one am incredibly grateful that we have these protectors looking out for us.

I ran into Rob at National Police Week.  He was out there doing what he does best… teaching cops how to stay alive.

Rob Magao of Manchester BJJ and Tony Sentmanat  of Real World Tactical

Rob Magao of Manchester BJJ and Tony Sentmanat of Real World Tactical

It’s hard not to take in the diversity of those who were rolling.  When you’re on the mats, the color of your skin doesn’t matter.  Your socio-economic background doesn’t matter.  Your gender, your sexual preference… none of it.

And the same thing goes for our law enforcement officers.  Regardless of how the media likes to try and spin things, these warriors care about two things – protecting people and staying alive.

During Police Week, Rob and his team offered two free months of training to any LEO who wasn’t already rolling with his academy.  He’s now doing the same for EMS, Fire and Dispatchers.

Training at Manchester Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

It’s proof that a life of service doesn’t end when you retire.  For many like Rob – that service and the need to protect is part of their DNA and carries on for life.

I took home much more than a bunch of bruises that day. I took home the sounds of despair… the anguish of loss… and the hope that other leaders across the country will step up and offer courses like this that help save lives AND help protect every day citizens.

God bless those who hold the thin blue line. They’re exponentially tougher than I’ll ever be.